With an ever-expanding user base it has become necessary now to have mobile apps with an impressive and memorable user interface (UI). Apps today have to be intuitive, responsive and easy to use, particularly in all screen sizes, so that brands can continue to attract new customers and retain existing ones. Mobile apps are no longer just a tool or just another customer touch point. They have become the shop window to an organization and require as much attention as any other interface in order to keep users satisfied and build a solid brand value and reputation.
Mobile app users are not just looking for an attractive and well-designed user aspect, but also for quick and easy functionality that lets them seamlessly navigate through the app. So if you want to stay competitive, what UI aspects are important to consider for your app?
Useful Tips for Building an Excellent UI for your Mobile Application
Get the Right Size and Format
While this rule doesn’t apply to any domain anymore, it definitely doesn’t work for mobile app UI. Right-sizing graphics is critical if you want an adaptive and attractive app no matter what the screen or device type, and tailor the graphics for specific devices where required. Similarly, it is important to get the format right keeping in mind the storage and download sizes. Android allows media in multiple formats including PNG, JPEG, GIF, BMP, and WebP.
Address User Needs
Designers need to know what users need, how they view a screen, how they use an app and what problems they could be facing. User analytics and feedback surveys can give insights into what app users want.
Make it Responsive
Any good UI must designed such that the app can be used to its full extent on multiple devices and mobile OS.
Don’t Be Afraid to Iterate
App developers must create iterations and design options to ensure that each app is interactive and engaging. Each iteration can help improve performance and the learnings can be re-applied for future projects.
The Importance of Colors
There are two aspects to the importance of colors in app design. First, use the right colors which align with the brand’s overall color scheme and brand guidelines, and make sure these colors look attractive and bright without looking gaudy. For instance, the trend these days is pastel colors. So be aware of such trends and choose right. Second, colors can be used to indicate subtle changes to show user action such as clicks or screen transitions. Pick contrasting color schemes without going overboard and overwhelming users.
Keep it Simple! Minimalist design, high style and subtle colors always please more and have a greater impact. Keeping things simple also means making the app easy to use without detailed instructions or tutorials. It means presenting a simple user interface that allows a user to get where he wants with a minimal number of steps.
Use Clear Fonts
Nothing is more frustrating than trying to read a complex font on a small screen. While creative fonts may look great for a designer, from a friendly UI perspective choose fonts that are readable, large and well-balanced with other screen elements.
Don’t Reinvent Rules
Mobile apps for different OS and platforms have over the years built a system of buttons, controls and clicks keeping in mind user practices. As a result, users are accustomed to certain icons, placement of buttons etc. Like the all important back button and its different placements in IOS and Android.Do not try to change this and confuse your target audience. Follow the rules of the platform and don’t deviate unless very necessary. Imagine if Microsoft were to radically change buttons and button placements one day. The world will go crazy. Moreover, Google and Apple both have strict norms and expect all apps to comply by their rules for everything like icons, widgets, activities etc.
Test With Real Users
It’s always good a good idea to have real users pitch in the design and test the UI and app functionality. Start doing this early on and repeat at multiple steps before the final launch so that you know what features to keep, what colors and transitions don’t work, and so on. This will save you a lot of re-work time later.
It’s OK to Use High-Res Images
A lot of the new smart phones today have high-res screens and if your app has some great, clear high-res pictures you can be sure to impress your users. This is especially true for brands that want to build an elite and exclusive base and project a superior brand image. Keeping images at 264 ppi or higher will make the interface look stunning and get more attention.
Don’t Forget Beta Testing
App developers usually like to skip this part and shy away from QA or beta testing. But doing a beta test with unknown users that don’t have vested interests will only improve your app’s performance and look and feel. Once your app is ready and you test it with real users, you’ll be surprised at how many things you thought would work actually need changing.
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UI is the first impression that an app makes on its users. That’s why an app’s UI has to be a good blend of platform rules, guidelines and creative design. The main objective is not just to create an app that looks good, but one that actually gets more and more downloads because of its attractiveness and usability. For an app to be successful and persistent, developers need to it in such a way that its users need to put in fewer efforts to understand and use the app.